Jim goes to a pirate ship museum on the docks and picks up his briefing from a chest. He’s informed that blackmail evidence has been engineered by Syndicate mobster Lou Merrick, who will turn it over to the Syndicate at their national convention in a week. Merrick’s boss, Jonas Stone, is holding the evidence, the aging local Syndicate chief who has been grooming Merrick as his successor. The IMF must stop Merrick and get the blackmail files.
Jim calls in the usual team plus Dr. Irving Berman, who runs a brain-research institute that has received endowments from Stone. He also chooses pharmaceutical scientist Thomas Galvin and the Phillips Maintenance Service, which provides powered window washing platforms. At the briefing, Jim explains that a man is posted in Stone’s office 24/7 to watch the safe with the blackmail files, and Barney assures the team he has the tumblers. He also has an insulin sprayer inside of a cigarette lighter that will cause a reaction in the victim within 10 minutes. Berman will then administer tranquilizers to Stone, and Paris will take his place. Paris assures them that he’s made a complete study of Stone’s life. Jim tells them that Nurse Larkin will also be helping them, and assures Berman that there will be no repercussions to the hospital. Berman wonders what happens if Nicholson doesn’t believe his story, and Jim assures him that Nicholson and Merrick hate each other. Willy has a sample of authentic morphine from Galvin, which they figure should convince Merrick.
Jim and Paris are parked outside of the office building where Stone has his offices, while Barney is outside on a window-washing platform. Willy is in the lobby and gets onboard the elevator with Stone when he comes in. He slips a transmitter into Stone’s pocket, knocks over his briefcase, and sprays him with the insulin from the cigarette lighter when the mobster bends over to pick it up. Stone gets out on his floor while Willy leaves the building and gets in the car with Jim and Paris. They listen in on the transmitter as Stone goes to his office and meets privately with Merrick, dismissing his mob guard Carson. Stone opens his safe, taking care not to let Merrick see the combination, and puts a package in with Merrick’s files and the million dollars in dues. When Merrick jokingly suggests that Stone share the combination with him, Stone just as lightly says that he’d like some insurance from his junior partner. Merrick then says that he wants to discuss narcotics, but Stone warns that the Syndicate board of directors has put drugs off-limits. He figures that Merrick plans to parley the blackmail evidence into a crack at narcotics, but tells him to wait until he turns the operation over to him.
After approximately five minutes, Jim goes into the building while Barney takes the platform up toward Stone’s office. Meanwhile, Lee Nicholson arrives to see Stone, who passed him over for promotion but is still connected to the New York Syndicate. He has a telegram for Stone from New York, stating that the meeting will be moved up two days. Merrick objects but Nicholson says that it’s Stone’s decision. Jim arrives, posing as a doctor from Berman’s institute, and Stone agrees to see him even though he wasn’t aware that Berman was sending anyone over. Jim explains that Berman wants to start a new line of research and wants a grant from Stone’s foundation. Stone agrees to contribute $50,000 and signs the paperwork, but then collapses as the insulin takes effect. Jim says it might be a stroke and calls an ambulance, and Merrick follows it to the hospital.
Barney takes the platform up to the office next door to Stone’s, gives a radio to his assistant, and opens the window with a suction device. He puts down his kit and starts to enter, but there’s a knock on the door. Barney is forced to leave the kit on the floor and pretend to be a window cleaner as Stone’s secretary comes in. She fails to notice the kit and leaves, and Barney goes in while the assistant takes the platform back down.
Berman puts Stone in an iron lung and tells Merrick that his partner had a stroke and is physically paralyzed. Jim is put in charge and has Merrick sign a release form allowing them to take all necessary measures.
Barney takes a multi-paneled glass panel out of the kit, a sheet that matches the wall.
Merrick has Carson stand guard at Stone’s door with instructions to call him if anything happens. Nurse Larkin brings Paris in and Jim ushers him into Stone’s room while Carson sits down outside.
Barney puts the panel into place in front of a small alcove, hiding his presence. Merrick comes in and is told that Galvin wants to see him. Galvin demands to see Stone, but when Merrick informs him that Stone isn’t there, Galvin furtively tells him that the place for the meeting is fine and he wants the 10% of the distribution in cash. Merrick demands to know what he’s talking about but Galvin leaves without giving him his phone number. Willy then calls, posing as a chemist, and asks to speak to Stone. Merrick takes the call and Willy asks him to have Stone call him about the “arrangement.” Willy plays a tape of a hospital announcement in the background and then hangs up.
Nicholson comes in to ask about Stone, and Merrick tells him to inform the New York Syndicate to seat a new man in case Stone doesn’t make it. Nicholson refuses until he hears from Berman one way or another.
Carson listens in as Jim and Larkin stage an argument and the nurse then storms out, saying she’s going to notify Berman. When Carson asks her what’s going on, Larkin says nothing and walks off. The mobster then listens at the door and hears Jim telling Stone to concentrate. Carson goes in and sees Paris wearing an electronic headset with wires running through a computer to Stone.
In the cubbyhole, Barney sets up his equipment and starts cutting through the wall behind Stone’s safe.
Carson calls Merrick to the hospital and tells him what he saw. Merrick demands to talk to Stone and shoves past Jim when he tries to stop him. Paris is still wired up and Jim reluctantly explains that he’s conducting an experiment to pick up Stone’s thoughts and send them through the machine to Paris, who is a rated clairvoyant. Merrick is ready to put an end to it but Paris starts trying to say Merrick’s name while Jim administers a mild shock to make the tranquilized Stone twitch. After a few moments, Paris “channels” Stone and tells him not to let the New York Syndicate push the meeting. Merrick rips the headset off of Paris’ head but he keeps talking before finally passing out.
Barney removes the real glass panels in the wall and then starts drilling.
Merrick goes to Berman and demands an explanation, and Berman admits that it’s possible, and offers to stop Jim’s experiments. Merrick tells him to let Jim continue but bans all visitors. When Merrick goes back to Merrick’s room, he gets a call from his underline Flynn, who tells him that Galvin works for a big pharmaceutical company. Larkin, listening in, makes the same announcement that Willy had recorded and played earlier. He makes the planned connection and asks Larkin if Willy works there.
Barney continues cutting through the wall as quietly as possible to avoid alerting the mobster standing guard outside.
Merrick goes to see Willy and informs him that he’s his new boss. The mobster explains that he’s Stone’s partner and that he’ll be taking over the operation. Willy reluctantly explains that he does experiments and Merrick figures that he converts morphine provided by Galvin into heroin for Stone. Merrick asks if he’s in and Willy caves. He provides the sample that Galvin gave him to test and Merrick confirms that it’s legitimate.
Merrick goes back to Stone’s room and Carson informs him that Jim was called away by Berman. Once Carson leaves, Merrick locks the door and draws a gun, and tells Paris to answer his questions to Jonas. Paris starts talking in Stone’s cadences, providing the necessary information from his studies of the mobster’s dossier. Once he has Merrick partially convinced, Paris tells him he set Willy up at the institute as a front for narcotics. Merrick is angry that Stone cut him out but Paris assures him that he was going to cut him in once everything was set. Convinced, Merrick puts his gun away and says that now Stone doesn’t have any choice.
Barney gets to the safe and opens up the back panel, and removes the evidence.
Paris confirms that Galvin will deliver 100 kilos of morphine to the lab that night. Merrick expresses his admiration for the scheme, unaware that Jim and Berman are listening in. Paris used the dues to pay Galvin, which is why he didn’t want the meeting moved ahead of schedule. Merrick asks for the safe combination but Paris refuses. Berman then calls Nicholson and tells him that Merrick is up to something. Nicholson says that he’ll be right there.
Merrick calls Galvin and tells him that the deal is on, and Jim storms in. When Jim realizes that Stone has taken over Paris, he threatens to call the police. Merrick threatens to check Stone out if Jim doesn’t cooperate, and Paris tells Jim that things will be fine.
Barney opens the back of the safe and accesses the tumblers, determining the combination. However, Flynn comes in and tries to turn on the fake light on the panel. Barney throws the real light switch at the same time. Flynn then pours himself a drink as Barney realizes that time is running out until Paris and Merrick arrive.
Berman brings Nicholson to Stone’s room and discovers that Paris, Jim, and Merrick have left. The director checks Stone’s charts and informs Nicolson that there’s nothing wrong with Stone, and that Jim has drugged the mobster unconscious. He wakes up Stone and Nicholson tells him that he’s been set up. Larkin reports that Jim has left the hospital, and Berman explains that Jim doesn’t work for the hospital. The first time Berman saw him was when Jim arrived with Stone that morning, with the medical release forms signed by Merrick. Jim then took complete control of Stone’s treatment with Merrick’s support.
Merrick and Paris arrive at Stone’s office and Flynn hastily puts away the booze before they can come in, leaves the adjoining office, and goes to Stone’s office. Paris bluffs opening the safe, and Barney sends an electrical shock through the safe, warning his teammate to play for time while he gets the combination. Paris fakes a mental struggle for control between himself and Stone, giving Barney enough time to reprogram the combination to the prearranged sequence. Barney then seals the safe back up just in time as Merrick reaches in and takes the million to pay off Galvin.
Galvin arrives with the morphine, while Barney signals the maintenance man to pick him up and leaves the way he came. Meanwhile, Willy calls to tell Merrick that the shipment has arrived. Merrick asks to talk to Carson, and Willy plays a tape of Carson confirming the delivery. Willy has already forced Carson to talk and then knocked him out. Paris plants a transmitter in the sofa while Galvin leaves with his money. Merrick calls in Flynn and tells him to dispose of Paris. Flynn takes Paris down in the elevator, just missing Stone and Nicholson going up. Jim, anticipating Merrick’s plan, is waiting and knocks out Flynn/
Merrick checks the folder with his evidence and discovers that it’s empty. Stone and Nicholson come in and discover that the million dollars in dues is missing. Merrick says that he used the million for their deal, but Stone has no idea what he’s talking about and figures that Merrick set the entire thing up. Stone, disappointed that his protégé has betrayed him, tells Merrick that he doesn’t have to explain anything. Down in the van, the team listens as a shot rings out and then drives away.